north korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is ready to talk about talking to North Korea.

"We're ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. And we're ready to have the first meeting without precondition," he said, in remarks Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the U.S. would be willing to enter negotiations with North Korea without requiring that it agree beforehand to give up its nuclear weapons program. The willingness to engage in talks without that understanding is a significant change in the U.S. approach.

North Korea says a new intercontinental ballistic missile tested on Wednesday proves it has a nuclear deterrent that can reach any target in the United States.

According to a statement from the Korean Central News Agency, the ICBM is capable of carrying a "super-large heavy warhead, which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S."

When President Trump announced Monday that the U.S. intends to designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, he said the U.S. will also announce the imposition of additional sanctions on Pyongyang.

The Trump administration is increasingly using economic sanctions to try to influence behavior, but experts warn the strategy doesn't always work — and can backfire.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is putting North Korea back on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism. President Trump says the move "supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate this murderous regime."

President Trump told reporters on Monday that the Treasury Department will officially announce additional sanctions and penalties on the North Korean regime on Tuesday.

When President Trump returned this week from a 12-day, five-nation swing through Asia, he gave himself high marks for the "tremendous success of this trip."

But experts say that while he avoided major blunders during his stops in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, the president missed more than one opportunity to offer his administration's strategic vision for the region — the world's largest, most populous and fastest growing.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping say they have agreed to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea and closer cooperation on trade.

In a joint statement delivered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People with Xi, Trump praised the Chinese president as "a very special man," and earlier, he said the two enjoyed "great chemistry." The Chinese leader emphasized that while the two economic and military giants would occasionally have differences, there were opportunities to be "mutually reinforcing."

Updated at 5 a.m. ET

President Trump said the U.S. was committed to working toward a diplomatic solution with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, but that Washington was prepared to use a "full range" of military options if necessary.

His remarks were made at a joint news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in held in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on the second leg of Trump's five-nation tour of Asia.

During his visit to Tokyo on Monday, President Trump highlighted a dark moment in Japan's history when he met with families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents. In the 1970s, North Korea abducted at least a dozen Japanese citizens and took them to Pyongyang to train North Korean spies in Japanese language and customs. One abductee was 13.

President Trump has embarked on his longest and most ambitious foreign trip yet. Over the course of nearly two weeks, he will visit five countries in Asia, give major speeches, attend critical regional summits and meet with dozens of leaders. This would be a monumental undertaking for even the most experienced politician and White House, which Trump and his team are not.

To be fair, the president has not come into this visit cold. In large part because of North Korea, the administration has invested more time and resources in Asia than any other region.

President Trump on Monday pledged to stand by Japan against the "menace" of North Korea and said he hoped the two nations could come to a "free, fair and reciprocal" trade relationship.

President Trump kicked off his Asia tour Sunday with a warning that the U.S. will use its military might, if necessary, to fend off hostile threats.

"No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve," Trump told U.S. and Japanese troops, assembled inside a flag-draped aircraft hangar at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. "We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag."

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

With news from the special counsel's probe into Russian interference in the presidential election still swirling in Washington, President Trump is leaving Friday on his longest foreign trip to date.

The Asian odyssey will take him to five countries and two international summits. Trade issues and North Korea's nuclear threat are likely to dominate the discussions. Here's a quick primer on what to watch for at each stop:

Japan

President Trump is taking a dog-eared page from the unofficial White House manual: When things are bad at home, go abroad.

With his domestic agenda seemingly stalled and indictments this week from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, the president will set off for Asia, where he no doubt hopes to shift the focus from Russia to North Korea.

It will be Trump's first trip to Asia as president — with a brief stop in Hawaii before heading to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines that wraps up on Nov. 14.

The past few days have been particularly chaotic, even for a president who seems to thrive on self-created chaos.

There's been a feud with a key Republican senator, a flare-up at a professional football game with President Trump instructing his vice president to walk out when players (on the most activist team in the NFL) knelt during the national anthem, and he even questioned the IQ of his secretary of state.

Another Sunday, another Trump Twitter war.

This time, President Trump, who is spending the day at his golf course in Virginia, took aim at retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

And Corker fired back.

"It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center," Corker wrote. "Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

Updated at 2:49 p.m. ET

Rex Tillerson denied a report out early Wednesday that he considered resigning as secretary of state, but he did not deny another detail in the report — that he called President Trump a "moron."

The rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea cooled for a day — and just a day only, it appears.

Roughly 24 hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the U.S. has been engaged in diplomatic talks with Pyongyang, President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to deride the effort — as well as Kim Jong Un.

Updated 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday

North Korea's foreign minister says President Trump's tweets about the Korean nation amount to a declaration of war and that under international law, his country can legally shoot down U.S. military planes — even if they're not in North Korea's airspace.

The Trump administration is updating its travel ban, just hours before it was set to expire. In a proclamation signed by President Trump on Sunday, the travel restrictions now include eight countries, a couple of which are not majority-Muslim, as had been the case with all the nations in the original ban.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has weighed in on the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, with a personal analysis of President Trump's Tuesday speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Trump's speech, which was notable for its apocalyptic rhetoric — it vowed to "totally destroy" North Korea and its 25 million people if the United States had to defend itself and its allies — aroused greater fears of military miscalculation that could lead to catastrophe.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

In his latest tweet about North Korea, President Trump gave leader Kim Jong Un a new nickname — "Rocket Man" — and seems to indicate he thinks sanctions on the country are working: "Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!" Trump wrote.

But are they, really? And what, if anything, could that tell us about the North Korean economy right now?

A narrow majority of Americans don't trust President Trump to handle the conflict with North Korea, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

The findings come as the president and his diplomatic team prepare for the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, where North Korea's renegade nuclear program will be a major focus.

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET Thursday

Japanese and South Korean officials have confirmed another missile test by North Korea Friday morning local time. This is the 15th North Korean missile test this year and the first to come after Pyongyang tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to impose a new set of sanctions against North Korea after the United States compromised with Russia and China who opposed an even harder line sought by the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has differed with President Trump over a number of significant foreign policy issues — North Korea, Iran and Qatar, to name a few. But when Tillerson distanced himself from the president on the question of American values — telling Fox News Sunday that the president "speaks for himself" by blaming "both sides" for violence that took place during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — questions grew over whether he would soon be out of office.

Rebecca Hammel / U.S. Senate Photographic Studio

Is there hope for a diplomatic solution to the rising nuclear threat of North Korea? If you ask Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), diplomacy is the only hope.

 

Speaking on a panel for business leaders and non-governmental organizations in Buckhead today, Perdue agreed emphatically with one of the other speakers, retired Air Force general Richard E. Hawley, that the only viable path to a lasting de-escalation with North Korea is through diplomatic outreach and negotiation.

North Korea is issuing fresh threats against the United States as a 10-day computer-based military exercise gets under way on the Korean peninsula. It's an annual joint drill between American and South Korean forces, but this year, it comes following a bitter back-and-forth between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

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